Austrian Audio’s MiCreator achieves no-nonsense stereo recording in a pocket-sized package
Austrian Audio’s MiCreator kicks off a new family of user-friendly recording tools aiming to simplify the process of capturing top-quality sound
Austrian Audio MiCreator
⊕ Impressive recording results br>
⊕ Simple to use br>
⊕ Direct monitoring br>
⊕ Includes WaveLab Cast podcasting studio app br>
⊖ Can’t directly use two ins and two headphones at the same time br>
⊖ Lacks onboard storage br>
MiCreator Studio £179
Satellite mic £89
Y-Lav lavalier mic £45
MiCreator System Set (Studio, Satellite, cables, faceplates, stereo bar and case) £269, austrian.audio
Austrian Audio undoubtedly produces an impressive range of professional microphones and headphones. But the new MiCreator is the company’s first foray into the world of multi-purpose, creator-focused audio devices.
The system is aimed at keen hobbyists through to professional podcasters, though its desk-based design means it’s probably less suited to recording out in the field. It’s still designed to capture high-quality audio quality, but minimises the fuss of setting up multiple devices. USB microphones aren’t a new phenomenon but, thanks to rapid tech advancements, are more versatile than ever. So what exactly is the MiCreator family all about?
The core product is the MiCreator Studio, a combined cardioid microphone and audio interface that’s almost small enough to slip into your pocket. There’s a family of accessories, too, but let’s start with the main unit. It’s well-built, more solid than many of its competitors such as IK’s iRig Pro Quattro I/O or Audio Technica’s AT2020USB-XP, and sports a premium metal finish. This is partly because it’s petite and needs that weight to keep it steady when in use.
When placed on a flat surface, the MiCreator Studio is perfectly secure, helped by two rubber feet that also assist with sound isolation from vibrations from below. The front and rear plates are magnetic and can actually be detached – we were sent two different coloured sets – which is a nice cosmetic touch.
The unit connects to your recording device over the supplied USB-C cable, which also provides its power. It’s class compliant so any computer, tablet or phone with USB-C – including the iPhone 15 – will work just fine and the MiCreator shows up as an audio in and out device.
An onboard mic capsule sits in its own shockmount, again helping with isolation, and on a tilting head that can be angled upwards to better capture vocals when desk mounted. There’s also a screw thread mount on the underside and adapters supplied should you want to mount it on a larger mic stand for instrument recording or singing while standing.
The interface is actually stereo but there are a couple of things to understand about this. When used on its own, the signal from the mono capsule is sent to both the left and right channels. If you introduce a second source via the 3.5mm combo input on the rear panel, the capsule signal is sent to the left channel and the input to the right.
That second signal could be from a number of sources. A cable is supplied to connect an instrument such as a guitar, but Austrian Audio also makes a lavalier microphone and a Satellite MiCreator, a smaller version of the mic, that can be connected to record a second person’s voice, say for an interview. Or, use both capsules on a mount to record stereo signals.
The knob on the front panel has a couple of functions, with a small LED strip providing visual feedback. In Balance mode, it mixes between the two inputs; in Volume mode, it controls the overall monitor volume of the whole unit. It’s possible to use two sets of headphones, by connecting to the out and the in/out jacks on the rear, and these will both receive signals of an identical volume. The limited number of ports means you can’t use two inputs and two headphones at the same time, though you could try a third-party splitter if you really needed to. Direct monitoring is available, so latency isn’t a problem.
The two inputs also have their own gain switches that work independently. The one on the front controls the capsule and has high, low and mute options while the one on the rear just has high and low, since with nothing connected it’s effectively muted anyway. These are reassuringly solid to use and it’s nice to have physical buttons in a world where soft buttons are increasingly the norm. The difference between high and low gain is a significant 20dB, meaning that low gain is more suited to close capture and high gain for situations where your source is a little further away.
Austrian Audio has specially modified the capsule to give it an impressive SPL tolerance of 130dB to cope with louder sounds. It also features a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz and a dynamic range of 108dB. Recording quality goes up to a very respectable 48kHz / 24-bit which is more than enough for most people. While some USB mics (Audio Technica’s AT2020USB-X, for example) allow up to 96kHz recording, this is overkill for typical users.
Unsurprisingly, our recording results from the MiCreator are excellent. It picks up a strong and clear signal both in low and high gain modes, with appropriate placement. We were particularly impressed with the even pickup when placed on a desk and angled towards the person speaking. Recording acoustic guitar was similarly effective – this time much closer up – as was adding a second person via the Satellite mic that we were sent with the package.
The company says that this mic is aimed at people who want great results without the fuss, and it’s delivered on that goal. Though a product such as IK Multimedia’s iRig Stream Mic Pro has more features, it’s also relatively more complex and has a more lightweight build. Simpler mics like Logitech’s Blue Yeti lack a second input.
The MiCreator’s form factor makes us wish that it had an onboard recording option – internal flash storage that could be downloaded after recording, which would open up whole new use cases. That, however, would require an internal battery amongst other things and surely push the price up, perhaps considerably.
So, the developers have kept it simple, making an excellent-sounding mic and interface with a simple but effective set of features that are easy enough even for beginners to use. We even love its retro styling.
- 24-bit, 48kHz recording
- USB-C data and power, class compliant
- Onboard, shock-mounted condenser capsule
- Cardioid polar pattern
- 130dB maximum SPL
- Second input for stereo
- 20dB variable gain switches
- Jog wheel for mixing and volume
- Direct monitoring
- Cubase LE and WaveLab Cast included
- Compatible with other MiCreator accessories
Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.Subscribe